2024 RBIL Applications Now Open!
The Rural Business Innovation Lab (RBIL) proudly announces the opening of applications for its 2024 cohort, a game-changing opportunity for rural entrepreneurs. Powered by Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), RBIL offers an immersive experience for rural visionaries aiming to launch, expand, and flourish.
Join our free, 8-month program, designed for those in the natural resource value chain, and become a part of our rural innovative business network today!
The Rural Business Innovation Lab (RBIL) is a cohort-based, entrepreneurial development program aiming to redefine the false narrative of rural decline. RBIL will build a peer network dense with innovative ideas, professional expertise, and resources needed for underserved rural entrepreneurs to start and scale their businesses.
RBIL aims to expand our focus on rural innovation businesses in agriculture, ag tech, sustainability, construction, waste management, water reclamation, workforce development, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our current industry focuses on accelerating and building resilience within the natural resource and new climate economy value-chain. RBIL has four main objectives:
What do you get for participating?
RBIL supports entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, addressing unique challenges faced by BIPOC, women, veterans, and LGBTQ+ individuals in rural Minnesota. The aim is to provide equal access and promote culturally relevant business practices.
Entrepreneurs in Minnesota and Wisconsin are invited to shape the future of rural America.
The Rural Business Innovation Lab is supported by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Compeer Financial.
The eligibility requirements may be waived for applicants that are mission aligned with advancing rural communities and the natural resources value-chain. Please contact Robert Harris, Lead Consultant if you don’t fit these criteria but still wish to apply.
Cohort One 2023
CEDA’s Rural Business Innovation Lab is proud to announce the selection of its first cohort, consisting of eight companies, including two nonprofits.
This diverse group of businesses and organizations has been carefully chosen based on their alignment with the program’s criteria and their demonstrated interest in scaling and innovation. The selected participants are set to embark on an eight-month journey to accelerate their growth and drive positive change in rural areas.
The first Rural Business Innovation Lab cohort consists of the following entities:
A premium equine food and supplement company. Their horse feed is an innovative use of organic and minimally processed superfoods. StableFeed’s goal is to provide today’s horse owner with a clean and wholesome feed option so that their horses can return to a more natural and raw diet.
A startup working to develop and market kernza grain products. Kernza is a regenerative crop (a cousin of wheat), which means that it lives for multiple years which in turn creates healthier soil. With more protein than any other grain and a high fiber food, kernza is taking over every aspect of the kitchen.
An online marketplace for meat producers and consumers. The Meatery’s goal is to educate consumers with access to small meat producers, supply options to a variety of products, and provide unique ways to cook up a great meal for the whole table.
Southeast Minnesota Food Rescue and Redistribution
A nonprofit that works with startup farmers from culturally diverse backgrounds, emphasizing indigenous products and practices. By connecting farmers who have an abundance of crops and homes that face food insecurity, this organization is both decreasing food waste and reducing food deserts.
A cricket farm that grows and harvests crickets for use in specialized food products. This is a product that not only fuels humans but also fuels the earth. With less water, land, and almost no emission of greenhouse gasses, 3Cricketeers’ products also provide more health benefits than a typical protein source. It’s the superfood that’s saving the planet and our health!
Makotah Veterinary Center
A rural veterinary center that provides services for a mixed variety of animals, running from dogs and cats to horses and cows. This practice is not only trying to serve their community with this necessary service, but also making legislative changes in the veterinary world to make it more accessible for small farmers in rural areas.
The cohort’s formation was a natural outcome, with applicants chosen based on their alignment with program goals and their potential for growth and innovation.
CEDA’s Rural Business Innovation Lab is committed to supporting rural entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth. With a focus on sustainability, climate change mitigation, and operational scalability, the program sets the stage for the participating businesses and nonprofits to thrive and make a lasting impact in their communities.
The Rural Business Innovation Lab is made possible by support from Compeer Financial.